Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson are two prominent psychologists in the field of human growth and development. Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development and Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development provide a background for understanding the developmental context of clients. Life-span development theory states that individuals continue to develop from infancy to late adulthood. Therefore, it is important to recognize that each client is in a particular stage of development. For example, if you are working with a 9-year-old client and an 80-year-old client, their current stages of emotional, physical, social, spiritual, and cognitive development would be vastly different. This understanding of the developmental context of your clients is foundational for client conceptualization and choosing appropriate intervention methods.
A client’s cultural background is also critically important. Where your client was born and raised, the cultural beliefs and religious convictions of the client’s family, and the different cultures and beliefs of the communities where the client lived is also fundamental to understanding your client and determining appropriate intervention methods.
While you must be aware of your client’s developmental and socio-cultural context, it is just as important to be aware of your own, with its biases and beliefs, so that your client conceptualization is not influenced by a lack of self-awareness. Participating in self-assessment can help counselors gain an understanding of who they are, what they believe, and how to separate personal biases from the counseling process.
For this Journal Assignment, you will assess your multicultural awareness and cultural competence, and consider the importance of multicultural awareness and cultural competence to the practice of clinical mental health counseling.
Due to the somewhat abstract topic of this Assignment, you are asked to present your thoughts as a reflective journal entry. Regular reflection through journaling is a common practice for counselors, and both counseling students and professionals find the practice helpful to their self-awareness and professional growth (Woodbridge & Rust O’Beirne, 2017).
Woodbridge, L., & Rust O’Beirne, B. (2017). Counseling students’ perceptions of journaling as a tool for developing reflective thinking. Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision, 9(2). Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.7729/92.1198
• Erford, B. T. (Ed.). (2018). Orientation to the counseling profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
o Chapter 10, “Human Development Throughout the Life Span” (pp. 311–336)
o Chapter 11, “Multicultural Counseling” (pp. 337–372)
Walden University, LLC. (Producer). (2010). Cultural competence: The first time I knew I was otherLinks to an external site. [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
• Review Chapters 10 and 11 in the Erford course text and focus on the importance of human development and multicultural awareness.
• Review the media program found in the Learning Resources for this week and think about the first time you realized you were “other.” Reflect on how this self-awareness impacted your cultural beliefs.
o Note: “Otherness” is a broad concept. It can be intense, such as experiencing racial prejudice, or more subtle, such as feeling uncomfortable in unfamiliar social situations. Otherness is a universal human experience and can look and feel many different ways.
• Take the Multicultural Self-Assessment (Petrone, 2004) in the Learning Resources and save your results. Please note: the assessment is a self-reflection tool. It does not yield a numerical score; your interpretation of the process and results is the outcome. (COMPLETED ASSESSMENT ATTACHED)
ASSIGNMENT: JOURNAL ENTRY (3-4 PAGES)
Use the Multicultural Awareness Journal Template to create your journal entry. In your journal entry, include the following:
• Summaries and reactions to the self-assessment results and reflection process
o Summarize the results of your Multicultural Self-Assessment.
o Identify which Harvard Implicit Bias self-assessments you took and summarize the results
o Explain how your results might make sense in light of the cultural influences in your life and/or your life experiences.
• Reflections on being “other
o Based on the media for this week, briefly tell the story of the first time you realized you were “other.”
o Discuss your reactions to your realization of being “other.”
o Explain how your developmental stage impacted your experience of “otherness.”
• Implications for personal development and professional practice
o Describe perceived gaps in cultural competency and actions you plan to take as a result of the self-assessment and reflection process.
o Explain the importance of multicultural awareness and cultural competency to the practice of clinical mental health counseling.
While this journal is reflective in nature, you should use the template provided in order to ensure appropriate APA structure and formatting. You are expected to support your work with reference to additional Learning Resources and to use appropriate APA format for in-text citations. It is highly recommended that you specifically cite the Petrone assessment in-text, since it will be used in the preparation of your paper.
Multicultural Awareness Journal
Summary of Multicultural Self-Assessment Results and Reflection Process
Taking the Multicultural Self-Assessment was a humbling experience as it helped me identify my cultural biases and values. According to the assessment, I have a moderate level of cultural self-awareness. I scored higher in the areas of awareness of cultural knowledge and awareness of personal assumptions and biases, indicating that I am aware of the cultural influences in my life and how they impact my perceptions and beliefs. However, I scored lower in the areas of awareness of cultural worldview and awareness of cultural differences, indicating that I may have limited exposure to different cultures and worldviews.
I also took the Harvard Implicit Bias self-assessment tests for race, gender, and sexuality. The results indicated that I have a moderate automatic preference for White people over Black people, no automatic preference for male or female, and a moderate automatic preference for heterosexual people over gay people. These results were surprising to me and made me reflect on the potential biases that I may hold, even if they are implicit and unconscious.
My cultural influences and life experiences may have contributed to my assessment results. I grew up in a homogeneous community where there was limited exposure to different cultures and worldviews. I also come from a family that values individualism and achievement, which may have impacted my worldview and perceptions of other cultures.
Reflections on Being “Other”
The first time I realized I was “other” was when I moved to the United States as an international student. I come from a collectivistic culture where the emphasis is on the group rather than the individual. When I first arrived, I struggled with the individualistic culture and the focus on self-promotion and individual achievement. I felt like an outsider as I did not fit into the cultural norms and values of the new environment.
My developmental stage impacted my experience of “otherness” as I was in my early twenties and in Erikson’s stage of intimacy versus isolation. I was trying to establish my identity and form intimate relationships, but my cultural differences made it difficult for me to connect with others.
Implications for Personal Development and Professional Practice
The results of my self-assessment and reflection process have highlighted gaps in my cultural competency. As a result, I plan to take actions to improve my cultural awareness and competence. These actions include:
Increasing my exposure to different cultures and worldviews by traveling to different countries and attending cultural events.
Engaging in ongoing self-reflection and self-assessment to identify and address my biases and assumptions.
Seeking supervision and consultation from experienced professionals who can provide feedback and guidance on cultural competency.
Participating in multicultural training and education to improve my knowledge and skills in working with diverse populations.
Multicultural awareness and cultural competence are essential to the practice of clinical mental health counseling. Clients come from diverse backgrounds and have different cultural beliefs and values. It is important for counselors to understand and respect their clients’ cultural identities and incorporate their cultural values into the therapeutic process. Culturally competent counselors also recognize their own cultural biases and values and work to ensure that these do not interfere with the counseling process. By improving our cultural competency, we can provide more effective and meaningful services to our clients.
Erford, B. T. (2018). Orientation to the counseling profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Petrone, A. (2004). Multicultural self-assessment. Retrieved from http://www.cedu.niu.edu/~shumow/iit/edu%20490/Other/multicultural_self-assessment.pdf
Woodbridge, L., & Rust O’Beirne, B. (2017). Counseling students’ perceptions of journaling as